An underwater volcano that erupted near the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa is giving scientists a closer look at how ocean ecosystems could respond to climate change, from dying fish to adapting plankton.
The ecosystem responded much as the researchers would have expected to the high temperatures and changes in acidity caused by the uneasy volcano south of El Hierro island. But the strength of the response was a surprise, study researcher Eugenio Fraile-Nuez of the Instituto Español de Oceanografía in Spain told LiveScience.
"The physical and chemical response of the system was predictable, but we never have imagined that we would reach this magnitude," Fraile-Nuez said. [Images: Wild Volcanoes]
The eruption killed or drove away all of the fish in the region (though many were seen floating dead on the ocean's surface), the researchers found. Some phytoplankton, or the floating plants that sit at the bottom of the ocean food chain, were able to adapt.
In October 2011, a new volcano formed south of El Hierro island, which is part of Spain. It was the first chance in 500 years to watch the local ecosystem evolve in response to an eruption, Fraile-Nuez said. He and his colleagues have been monitoring the volcano since then, measuring its effect on ocean temperature, salinity, carbon dioxide content and more.
Over the crater, the water heated up by as much as 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.8 degrees Celsius), the researchers found. Dissolved oxygen in the water all but disappeared, decreasing by 90 percent to 100 percent in places. Meanwhile, carbon and carbon dioxide valueterm-impact-for-older-adults-study-finds.html">sepsis.
Two weeks after the birth, the mother revealed she had been told in Bolivia during a previous pregnancy that she had Chagas disease. After testing her baby boy, the doctors found he too had the parasite in his blood. The boy received a 60-day treatment of benznidazole, a drug for Chagas disease, and was cured.
The case "illustrates that congenital Chagas disease, even when severe, might not be recognized, or diagnosis might be delayed because of the lack of defining clinical features, or because the diagnosis is not considered," today's CDC report said.
Chagas disease is estimated to affect about 300,000 people in the United States, most of whom immigrated here.
Doctors in the United States should be aware of the condition so that pregnant women from at-risk areas for Chagas disease can undergo screening and be identified, the report says. Mothers diagnosed with Chagas disease should be treated for the condition, but not until after they finish breast-feeding, the report said.
Pass it on: Doctors in the United States should be aware of the risk of mother-to-child transmission of Chagas disease.
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